In this September 25, 2013 file photo illustration a woman smokes a "Blu" e-cigarette (electronical cigarette). (Photo: Xinhua)
HANGZHOU, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Customs in east China's Zhejiang Province arrested 27 suspects involved in an electronic cigarette smuggling case with a value of more than 400 million yuan (58.4 million U.S. dollars).
According to customs in the city of Ningbo on Monday, over 470,000 cartons of cigarettes were confiscated in the latest operation. Another 30,000 cartons and 500 sets of tobacco heating devices were also seized while taking down three cross-border smuggling gangs.
A suspect surnamed Li confessed that his accomplice purchased cigarettes and devices in Japan and smuggled them into China as international parcels. Li alone had smuggled over 100,000 cartons as of his arrest.
Investigators also found nearly 300 smugglers like Li, with a combined smuggling quantity of over 400,000 cartons.
Electronic cigarettes are not allowed to be sold in China, according to the law. However, smugglers resorted to online platforms and instant messaging applications and sold them disguised as other products.